By Simon Baskett
MADRID (Reuters) – The International Badminton Federation (IBF) unveiled a new 12-tournament Super Series for 2007 that will also feature an end-of-season Masters event with prize money of ,000.
"We want to boost badminton's profile and highlight what we have got," Paisan Rangsikitpho, the chair of the IBF Events Committee, told a news conference.
"Television will play an important role in the new series and events have guaranteed live coverage of the semi-finals and finals. We want billions of viewers."
The IBF has cherry-picked 12 high-profile tournaments on the existing circuit to make up the Super Series, four in Europe and eight in Asia.
In Europe, the All-England, Swiss, Danish and French Opens have been chosen, while in Asia, Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Korea and China will hold the remainder of the events.
Rangsikitpho said that the United States, Taiwan, Germany and India had made unsuccessful applications to hold Super Series events, but had been put on a reserve list.
Badminton powerhouse China will be the only country to hold two events, but the venue of the end-of-season Masters trophy has not yet been decided.
The main draws will be 32 rather than 64-strong, with the top 28 players or pairs in the world being joined by four qualifiers.
The IBF also said they were looking into the introduction of television replays for the Super Series following calls from leading players for the use of such technology to resolve disputes over line calls.
"We are in the research phase at the moment," said Rangsikitpho.
"It's a costly operation and we will be looking at how other sports like tennis use the technology. It might be possible to introduce it to make it fair for all players."